I wouldn’t necessarily say that this has been ‘about what I’d expected.’ I can say emphatically that it has been a steep learning curve. For starters, they are twins…identical in virtually every visual way. That alone creates a few unique challenges, and after changing the same child’s diaper twice in a row, I put a little pen mark on (we’ll call him, Chip, for the purposes of this blog) Chip’s hand to avoid this mistake for future diaper changes. In truth, the error was, in part, due to the matching pajamas only an inexperienced parent would put identical twins in, but the genetics, here, are at least partly to blame. I’ll take that small visual trickery though, because those genetics also produced two of the cutest, happiest, and healthiest toddlers I could ever have hoped to care for.
I feel I owe it to other parents of twins to dispel the myth that twins are easier because, ‘they entertain each other.’ This is common to hear from people, presumably twin-less people, who make this seemingly reasonable statement. While it is true, at times, it is just as true that, while one is being pulled from a cabinet the other is elbows deep in a porcelain basin full of toddler-high cool water; While one is happy, the other, full tantrum; While one diaper is clean, the other is in full blow-out. Even as I write this, I’m watching one twin on the baby monitor attempting to nap, while his brother uses his body as a stepping stool to get his leg over the crib wall…Oh yeah, did I mention they can climb right out of the crib, at will? That was a fun surprise on night three, when I finally got them to bed and myself into the shower. Caught completely off-guard by (We’ll call the other one…you guessed it…Dale) Dale’s bleach blonde head, now wet to his ears, peering in around the shower curtain. The pitter-patter of Chip’s little feet stomping on the tile floor behind him.
Bath time is a whole different challenge. Fortunately, the boys love creating claims on my flood insurance policy, so there’s that, but, at the same time, they hate having the shampoo rinsed out of their hair and they fly out of the water on full tip-toe, hands clawing at my shirt like they’re being waterboarded, every rinse, which is protested, just prior, by throwing their heads in exactly the wrong way to avoid actually waterboarding my children. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid the inhalation of soapy bath water, thus far, but it feels like a huge win for the three of us, each and every time. Their favorite part of bath-time, however, is the few minutes they get to splash around as the water slowly drains, followed by the naked run through the house as I attempt to re-diaper them both before one of them pees on the carpet (A race I have already lost twice in the first week, btw).
This experience has created a lot of personal growth as well. Not, as well…More, it has created a lot of personal growth…period. I went into this with zero parenting experience, while the two of them had a combined three years of experience being babies then toddlers together. I went from never having grocery shopped…not really, ‘shopped’, anyway, to making multiple trips to the grocery store in my first week. I’ve also turned my brand new three-year-old stove, into a thoroughly used appliance during the same time-span. A week ago I was a bachelor. My diet consisted of take-out and pizza. I didn’t cook. I bought the stove because it came in the set and there was a hole in the cabinets I needed to fill. Now, I have two boys who will eat almost everything I put in front of them, and continue eating until I stop. They’ll eat a whole PB&J each, a whole corn dog, right off the stick, and a pound of tatter-tots between the two of them. Sadly for them, they only get those foods once in a while. Thankfully, they also eat half of a large chicken breast each and love peas. To get nutrients in them, we’ve gone to making smoothies. If I knew how to make money blogging, believe me, I would have an advertisement for the Vitamix 780 inserted right here, because that thing makes spinach and kale invisible in a frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie. Once we figured out they couldn’t get the fluid through the small holes in the tippie-cups and they weren’t reject the concoction, it’s become a favorite for the boys who have learned that the purple drink comes with the straw.
So, what’s changed in the past seven days? I now know that I love these boys like they were my own flesh and blood, both as twins and as individuals. I can now tell them apart by their facial expressions and personalities, their laughs and cries, and by which area of the house they return to for mischief. Dale calls me Dada and chip calls me Mamma, and technically, at least for now, they’re both right. I get to wrestle around and sword fight with paper towel rolls, but I also have to kiss the booboos and sing to them at 3 AM when they wake up scared. They deserve a mom and dad. They got me, and I will do my best to fill both of those roles as best I can.
This first week has been challenging in ways I never imagined and, at the same time, has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I look forward to the little breaks during naps, but can’t imagine going back to a quiet house all to myself.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this next week goes as I begin to reincorporate my work schedule into the mix. It’s been hard while I was with them 24 hours a day. It’s going to be much more difficult moving forward, but these boys are not my only responsibility. I still owe it to my employer and to my devoted crew to give them 100% of my attention during the hours I’m there. My employer, boss, and crew have been wonderful in allowing me the time to focus solely on these boys. Now, I owe it to them to move back into working full time, devoted to their success and our success as a team as well.